Relationships are an integral part of life.
Whether they be of the romantic variety or not, they enrich our lives with experiences, lessons, emotions, and so much more that we could never have had on our own. Of course, relationships can also cause a lot of heartbreak and hardship in life, but that doesn’t seem to stop us from regularly engaging in them — and for good reason.
In hopes of helping you to better navigate through the relationship landscape of your life, I’ve put together a list of eight relationship red flags that we need to stop overlooking.
For the record, I’m not suggesting that if your current relationship features any of these warnings that the optimal response is for you to jump ship. What I am saying is that if these factors are present, they need to be addressed, and (in many cases) this can be done through an honest conversation with the other person.
See, in both video and written form, how many of these you’re currently experiencing.
1. You’re Not Yourself
We are all unique, and if you are not able to fully express everything that makes you who you are with the person you intend to spend the rest of your life with, that’s quite the red flag. It’s not that your partner needs to fully appreciate every aspect of you, but they do have to support your choosing to be yourself, flaws and all.
The last thing you want is a life where you are consistently wearing masks to appease those who surround you, all the while suppressing the things you once expressed freely. If this describes your current situation and you’re afraid to suddenly start being a more accurate version of yourself, I’d suggest starting with the more subtle things and eventually having a conversation with your partner where you share some of the things you’d like to start incorporating in your life again.
2. You Keep Losing Time to Do What You Love
When you enter into a new relationship, you are naturally tasked with reallocating your time and schedule to make regular space for your new partner. As the relationship progresses, the time demands may become more substantial, but the allocation tends to become easier since much of what you previously did on your own, you now do as a collective unit.
But a red flag to keep an eye out for is if your partner is consistently sucking away time that you previously spent doing things that you are passionate about or were important to you. This may not even be something they are consciously doing, and in most cases, some simple observation and a conversation will do the trick, but if it’s consistently their way or the highway, then look out!
3. You Compare Rather Than Celebrate
We all have a competitive bone in our body, with some having substantially larger ones than others. But no matter the size of your “inner warrior,” one person you should not be in competition with is your life partner.
I’m not saying that you cannot and should not challenge each other healthily, but rather, that you should be supportive rather than jealous of each other’s accomplishments. If your partner regularly lets their ego inflate at the sight of your success, something needs to change.
4. You Feel Relief When Apart
I’d like to start this one by clarifying that I am not suggesting that the loss of our independence is a key to a healthy relationship. I’m instead referring to the initial feeling you experience when you have time apart from your significant other.
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If you regularly find yourself relieved to finally be on your own, that’s a clear sign that you struggle with number one on this list. We all need our alone time, and should make time for it openly with our partner, but we should also be happy to share our time with them, too.
5. You Keep Bringing Up the Past
Whether it was hardship you experienced with a previous partner, or a tough time you went through with your current one, a major red flag is if either one of you regularly find yourself bringing up the past.
Our past has undoubtedly played an integral role in making us who we are today, but that doesn’t mean we should allow it to pollute the present moment. If you can’t seem to let the past go, things are only going to become increasingly more difficult in the relationship, since there are bound to be other challenges coming your way.
If you and your partner struggle with this, consider having an open conversation about the past experiences that keep coming up, focusing in particular on what you’ve learned from them rather than how they hurt you.
6. You Play Mind Games
During the initial stages of dating, mind games can be an ‘effective’ way to get to know one another. But if you find yourself still testing your partner six months, one year, five years, or even ten years into a relationship, that’s quite the red flag of distrust.
If you have a concern, voice it rather than secretly trying to draw the truth of out them. If you feel that’s the only way you’ll get the truth, you’ve got a decision to make.
7. You Don’t Turn to Each Other for Help
We all have those particular friends and family members that we turn to for advice and council, but if your partner is someone that you completely avoid when the going gets tough, that’s another red flag.
If you truly intend on spending the rest of your life with this person, do you not want to be able to turn to them for support? Even if they don’t offer the same quality of advice on certain matters that others do, you still want to avoid a situation where you hide the harder things in life from the person you proclaim to love.
8. It’s Primarily Physical
Of course we all love the physical aspect of romantic relationships. But even if you and your partner’s sex life is out of this world, it should not be the only, or even the strongest, part of your connection.
If you find yourself constantly arguing or irritated, only to be rebalanced by make-up sex, your relationship is a ticking time bomb. Do what you need to do to make sure that the emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and other levels of connection are getting the attention they need and deserve.
An interesting read when it comes to relationships is The Honeymoon Effect: The Science of Creating Heaven on Earth by Bruce H. Lipton, Ph.D.
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